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The Ford family received a design and organization makeover healing more than just a messy space.
By Kathy Primer Krafve | Before Photos by Sarah A. Miller, After Photos by Herb Nygren Jr.
Two years after her younger brother’s death, Tracy Ford still grieves for the sibling who brought her so much joy and shared some of her favorite childhood moments.
Her grief had a tangible form in a room at her house, which became piled with mementos, such as pictures and keepsakes, which she could not deal with after his funeral. That is, until Lorrie Gazette and IN Magazine teamed up to bring some relief and a big dose of comfort not only to Tracy but her whole family.
Tracy’s shoulders sag when she talks about the burden the piles of boxes present, even atop her husband’s desk. “I could just walk in the room and I could feel this heaviness on me,” says the normally energetic brunette with the gentle demeanor and tender way of talking to her small son. Their son was a toddler and their baby was only weeks old when Tracy and her husband, Zac, got the news of Justin’s death.
Lorrie, owner of Creative Order & Design, understands Tracy’s pain because she has also suffered loss.
“I lost my oldest son, Chris, a year ago in June. He was a teddy bear; he was this soft-spoken tenderhearted teddy bear. Everybody loved him,” Lorrie says, “People think that you should be past it, but it still hurts so deeply. I knew immediately that Tracy was the one. Her story touched me.”
This is the third time IN Magazine and Lorrie’s company have teamed up for the Room from Heaven contest. In the seven years since they started Creative Order & Design, Lorrie and her team have transformed countless rooms. Some of Lorrie’s favorite projects have been helping senior citizens move into smaller quarters.
“We are trying to make people comfortable in their homes and also comforting their hearts,” Lorrie says.
Whether they are helping young couples or seniors, Lorrie’s team always focuses on bringing peace and comfort.
“We go in and touch people’s lives by transforming their room’s. We create that peaceful, serene environment that they are needing.”
Tracy was so excited about the room’s transformation, she hand-wrote a note to Lorrie’s team and read it out loud to them before they left her home.
“There was not a dry eye in the room,” Lorrie says.
“Their team came in and made this such an easy process for me. They were all so kind, so sensitive” Tracy says, “Lorrie especially is awesome. I felt like I walked away with eight new friends.” Like so many East Texas families, Tracy’s family suffered but yet learned to be somewhat effective in their encouragement of her brother as he battled an addiction that eventually took his life. Still, his death was a shock that broke her heart.
“Justin loved life; he was a good person who had a huge heart,” Tracy says, “He just couldn’t win the battle with addiction, but he wanted to.”
Her friend had been encouraging her to enter the IN Magazine Room from Heaven contest. So on the last day before the deadline, with no thought of actually winning, Tracy filled out the application.
No stranger to remodels, this is the fifth house Tracy and Zac have restored. Normally bustling with energy for each project, the couple has always enjoyed working and laughing side by side to bring new life to each house, even refurbishing old furniture for special rooms as their children play nearby.
This time, however, she could not bring herself to open the door to the one room.
‘We had gutted the whole house except this room. My best friend didn’t even know that room was there.”
Now she smiles at the thought of how the clutter could be transformed into a space dedicated as her husband’s office; a space she says means so much to her because of the way he has always comforted her throughout the challenges her brother’s addiction presented.
“(Zac) is so happy the house is finished. He told Lorrie, ‘I feel like our house is complete now.’”
For Tracy, knowing her husband will have nice, quiet place to work from home is a bonus blessing.
“He is an awesome husband and dad,” she says with a smile, adding that their son calls the room “his and daddy’s office.”
Besides organizing, Lorrie’s team painted, installed cabinets, hung blinds and chose beautiful decorator furnishings and rugs, along with all the other topnotch touches.
“The room is unbelievable. Its way better than anything I could have imagined. It’s so beautiful,” Tracy says.
While Tracy is sad her kids will have to grow up without Uncle Justin, she is confident they will all be reunited with him someday in heaven.
“I have a huge peace about knowing that I’ll be with him again. I know he’s OK,” she says.
In the meantime, she and Lorrie are comforting each other with the comfort they have received along the way. They are finding that even life’s hardest moments have a way of bringing people together.
Tracy’s husband has a clean desk to prove it.